Top 15 Law Books [Updated 2021]
Law is a set of rules levied by a country/institution to regulate the actions/behaviors of the members of the country. Below is the list of books on law that you must read in 2021 –
- The Rule of Law ( Get this book )
- The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law ( Get this book )
- Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies ( Get this book )
- Understanding Criminal Law ( Get this book )
- Business Law: Text and Cases ( Get this book )
- Working with Contracts ( Get this book )
- Environmental Law Handbook ( Get this book )
- Family Law ( Get this book )
- McGraw-Hill’s Real Estate Law for Paralegals ( Get this book )
- Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business ( Get this book )
- Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks for Dummies ( Get this book )
- International Law ( Get this book )
- Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges ( Get this book )
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness ( Get this book )
- Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University ( Get this book )
Let us discuss each of the law books in detail along with its key takeaways and reviews.
#1 – The Rule of Law
by Tom Bingham
About the book
This law book explores the actual idea behind the much used phrase “The Rule of the Law”, which lays the foundation of modern states and civilizations. It can be an interesting read for people who are interested in politics, society and the state of the world.
This book is the brainchild of one of the finest legal minds in the world. The author explains the history, evolution, application, and current scenario of the doctrine of the rule of law in the world. He also discusses the eight conditions that captures the law’s essence in western democracies. The underlying idea of the doctrine is that the law that rules the people should be justified and righteous. The book also touches upon the impact of international terrorism on the rule of law. Although the book has been written for anyone interested in the concept of the doctrine, the technical and legal jargon used can be a little overwhelming for people who are not from a legal background.
- The book tries to convey the underlying idea of the phrase “The Rule of Law” to the readers.
- The lucid presentation and in-depth international analysis make it a great read.
- People of legal background would enjoy the explanation in the book.
#2 – The Legal Analyst: A Toolkit for Thinking about the Law
by Ward Farnsworth
About the book
The book provides a quick overview of the various ways to contemplate the application of the law. The book outlines the major ideas in the law and elucidates its different components.
In this book, the author intends to fill the gap in law school teachings wherein the schools don’t lay enough focus on the processes of thinking about legal matters and analyzing them. The book explores a wide range of topics that include principles from economics and law, game theory, behavioral psychology, standards of review, jurisprudence, etc. It offers an alternative to the traditional law school curriculum by exploring the solutions rather than the core subject matter. Readers, especially law students and legal practitioners, would find the book engaging as it uses a lot of examples to explain the concepts. You can use the book as an analytical toolkit for thinking about legal issues.
- It is a practical guidebook that covers how the concept of behavioral economics, game theory, basic statistics, etc. can be used for legal reasoning.
- It is an important analytical toolkit for people who are new to the legal profession.
#3 – Constitutional Law: Principles and Policies
by Erwin Chemerinsky
Many students have mentioned that this book has saved their lives. It is because constitutional law is the most horrid subject to students. However, after reading, they realized that constitutional law doesn’t need to be that way. It can be understood well if the fundamentals are taught with clarity and relate-ability. Chemerinsky’s book does both for students.
On the first hand, the book is written so well that you will not stumble at any place, and the understanding would be solid. And secondly, for early law students, it’s very easy to read. From many readers’ perspectives, it can be easily said that it is perfect for those who find constitutional law impenetrable and, at the same time, want to digest and pass their exams.
Normally, in legal studies, constitutional law is taught in the first year when the students are new to this sort of study and find cons law very difficult. It is a must-read for those who are just starting out in legal studies for its logical arrangement of chapters and digestible contents.
- This is the most comprehensive guide on constitutional law you will ever find. With over 1000 pages, this book can be the stand-alone guide for constitutional law preparation.
- Moreover, you will also get a lot of references, examples, and cases to supplement your understanding of constitutional law.
- Most of the students have successfully passed constitutional law reading this book.
#4 – Understanding Criminal Law
by Joshua Dressler
If you’re looking for a textbook on criminal law, you will find a lot of value in this book. Most of the readers who have read this book have mentioned that it is a great reference book for passing the exam. It has been written for students, and as a law student, you will be able to appreciate the content, the logical chronology, and the clear, concise version. Few students have remarked that if you have Dressler’s casebook, this book will act as a great supplement.
To understand criminal law, you always need a book that will compare the penal code with the utilitarian aspects of criminal law. Well, this book doesn’t disappoint you in this regard as well. It is primarily should be read by students of law, but if you’re in the legal profession or in business and feel that you need to revisit few amendments or legal bindings of a particular situation, you can read this book for reference. Along with different types of crimes and their legal actions, you will also find a lot of cases, references, examples, and concise explanations.
- You will be able to appreciate the book properly if you use it as a supplement to a case book on criminal law. It’s concise and comprehensive at the same time, and you don’t need to read any other book if your intention is just to pass the exam.
- This law book focuses on the fundamentals of specific crimes like homicide, rape, theft, group criminality, and it also covers theories of punishment and overarching principles as legality and proportionality.
#5 – Business Law: Text and Cases
by Kenneth W. Clarkson, Roger LeRoy Miller and Frank B. Cross
This book is an amazing guide for someone who has been studying a course of business/finance and needs to go through the business law courseware. It is an amazing resource for someone who is a business owner and would need to be strong in business law to be able to run his/her business well. One of the readers who have been practicing law has mentioned that this book is very comprehensive and has given a detailed explanation of every fundamental of business law.
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It is more comprehensive than a business student ever needs; that means two things – first, there’re no issues with passing the exam; and second, the business student can read through some additional material for better understanding and comprehension. Plus, if you’re a complete beginner and you don’t have any idea about business law, it would be your saviour. It can be called a bible for business law. Every year, you can revisit this book for reference.
- It is so comprehensive that it includes the fundamental laws as well as business cases that will help students understand texts better.
- It doesn’t only include old cases. It also has a series of contemporary and new cases that are very relevant for students of business law.
#6 – Working with Contracts
What Law School Doesn’t Teach You, 2nd Edition (PLI’s Corporate and Securities Law Library)
by Charles M. Fox
If you ever worry about contract law in your law school, this is a must-read for you. Not only it makes the concepts easy, but it also teaches you how to actually draft the contract. Readers all over the world who have read this book have mentioned that it is the single best book on contract drafting.
But let’s say that you have never gone to law school, and you don’t have any educational background in law; would this book be able to add value to you/your profession? If you’re currently associated with contract drafting, and you don’t have a degree, this is the stand-alone book you need.
You can use it as training materials for teaching your juniors about contract drafting as well as you can keep the book at your desk for future reference. Moreover, if you ever dream of becoming a transaction lawyer, it is a must-read for you. The content of the book will also help you if you’re acting as a litigation lawyer on your clients’ behalf.
- To draft a contract, you need three types of practical knowledge – legal, technical, and business. This book will hand you all three.
- This law book is written in such a way that as a layman, you would be able to follow the step-by-step method and learn your way to become the best contract drafter.
#7 – Environmental Law Handbook
by Christopher L. Bell, F. William Brownell, David R. Case, Kevin A. Ewing, Jessica O. King, Stanley W. Landfair and many
If you are studying environmental law and have decided to become an environmental law scholar, this is a great textbook for you. Over 1100 pages, it includes all the cases, examples, concepts, and fundamentals of environmental law you absolutely need. There are many other books which are very much comprehensive like this one, but why read this one? Because this also includes revisions made by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA)!
You may not find it useful as a business owner because there is way too much information than required. It’s a perfect read for those who have been pursuing law as a student and need to read through a text on environmental law.
The only pitfall of this book is – it is a little boring at times since it goes on to explain the concepts in depth. If you don’t want to use this as a textbook, you can keep this book as an additional reference, and whenever you need to find a little more detailed overview of any concept, you can pick this book up and read.
- In 1973, three years after Congress passed the Environmental Law, this book was first published. And since then, it has been serving the students with all the cases, examples, fundamentals, and contemporary issues.
- In a nutshell, this book will help you answer three questions –
- How can one ensure compliance with regulations?
- How do the latest environmental developments impact operations?
- How to keep the operations efficient and the environment safe?
#8 – Family Law
by William P. Statsky
If you ask people about the most important priority of their life, they would say in unison – “family.” If a family is important to you, you also need to find ways to protect your family. Pick this book up and know how you can protect the interest of your family. Let’s say you want to go beyond and don’t just want to protect your family; but also want to protect the family of others – in that case, also, you can use this book.
Reading this book will help you understand how the law is related to domestic relations, what’s the position of paralegal and attorney, and how you can exercise your power to protect your family. This book also offers references for outside primary and secondary authorities.
Many students have also recommended it to others who have been studying law. It can easily be called a bible for family law as it is very comprehensive and clearly written for anyone who is willing to learn family law. It is also very well organized and well written.
- It offers a great introduction to family law covering procedural and substantive law with a strong practical emphasis.
- Along with learning the fundamentals, you will also learn the sample checklists, documents, cases, forms, and real-world tools. That means this book is equally applicable for those you would like to work as a specialized family law professional.
#9 – McGraw-Hill’s Real Estate Law for Paralegals
by McGraw-Hill Education and Curriculum Technology
This is the most concise and easy guide on property law. If you are a student of law and want to get a refresher course on real estate law, your search ends here. It is quick, easy to read, and consists of a lot of cases that will make things relevant and clear. Let’s say you are not a student and also not a lawyer, but every day you deal with property law as it is part of your profession. If this description matches what you do as a professional, this book is a must-read for you.
However, other than paralegals, it is also effective for students studying real estate law. Each chapter is small and easy to read, which increases your retention power and helps you apply what you learn. For people who are business owners and handle real estate dealings, this book is a must-read for them. Many readers have remarked that if you don’t have any training in real estate, you can start with this book and work your way up to having a great real estate career.
- This book is concise and only 288 pages. Within this small volume, you will get to know the fundamentals of real estate law. As a result, students don’t need to put a lot of effort into understanding this dry subject.
- This book also consists of many exercises, cases, references, and hands-on-learning assignments.
#10 – Legal Guide for Starting & Running a Small Business
by Fred S. Steingold Attorney
Let’s say you’re a business owner of a small business, and you don’t have a clue what legal matters to adhere to in order to avoid any lawsuits or legal obstacles. What would you do? We recommend that you pick up this book and give this book a read. It is particularly written for small business owners. If you are planning to start a business, you can use this book as well.
While reading through the chapters, you would often feel that whether this book would replace the need of an attorney. No, it will not replace the requirement of an attorney; but it will certainly make you legally prudent about your business.
Reading a business law textbook and reading this book is quite different. Because in a business textbook, you would find more academic ways of presenting facts, whereas, in this book, you will find practical and relevant legal advice, particularly for small businesses. Read it, take notes, and then align the legal matters of your business as per the dictates of this book, and at the end, ask an attorney to approve of whatever you did before implementation.
- You will be able to learn a lot from this book. A few of the things that you will learn are – how to raise start-up money, how to save on business taxes, how to get licenses and permits, how to choose the right insurance for your businesses, how to decide between an LLC and other business structures etc.
#11 – Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks for Dummies
by Henri J. Charmasson and John Buchanan
This is a great book on intellectual property law. It covers all three aspects – patent, copyrighting, and trademark. If you’re a business owner and would like to know a lot about all three of them, this book is an amazing volume to learn from. This guide is also valuable for students. But let’s say you’ve completed your study and you’re about to join an organization that deals with intellectual properties. Would this book add value to your life? The answer is a resounding yes.
If you don’t know anything about intellectual property, you can start with this book. Along with all the legal concepts in IP, this book will also make you smile with hilarious quotes and tit-bits. In a nutshell, this book is your go-to-guide if you’re a student, a business, a layman trying to understand intellectual property laws, or a business tycoon who would like to take the assistance of a lawyer and wants to know a bit about patents, copyrights, and trademarks. What’s more surprising is the comment some readers have offered after reading this book. They have said that after reading it, they don’t need a lawyer, and with the knowledge they have gained, they can now protect their IP in the way they choose.
Here are the best things you will learn –
- You would know how to register trademarks and copyrights.
- You will know how to meet patent requirements.
- You will be able to avoid application blunders.
- You will learn to protect your rights abroad.
#12 – International Law
by Malcolm Evans
To present a subject like international law isn’t an easy job, but this book is written so lucidly that the students find it very easy to digest. It is written by a single author, which gives a broader perspective to the various topics included in this book. Even if it’s camouflaged as a book, each chapter can easily be called a journal piece. That means by reading this one book; you would be able to read through a series of journal papers and magnify your learning experience. Each chapter is arranged in a logical sequence, and a few related topics are merged together into one chapter for better understanding.
For example, the “law of armed conflict” and “the use of force” are addressed together. However, few topics are dealt with separately, like “peaceful settlement of disputes,” “responsibility to protect,” etc. By reading this, you will have good ideas about international criminal law, international economic law, international human rights law, international environmental law, and the law of the sea. In a nutshell, this is one of the best books you would ever find as a student and as an advanced scholar of legal studies.
- The best part is its approach to presenting various international laws in a single volume. And as it’s not written by a single person, the standard of this book triumphs many others on international law.
- Along with it, you will also receive an Online Resource Centre where you would be able to know the personal opinions and insights of eminent international law experts.
#13 – Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges
by Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner
About the book
The book discusses the art of persuasive speaking and writing in the courtroom in a fresh and entertaining manner. It presents all the important aspects of judicial persuasion in a systematic way.
Although the book has been written keeping the American readers in mind, people from other parts of the world can also enjoy its content and learn. It is a practical guide for both beginner and veteran litigators alike. The authors explain the fundamentals of sound legal reasoning, which includes articulation of the underlying syllogism of any argument. The duo also covers the art of brief writing, especially what should be included and what should be omitted, such that the judge is forced to focus only on the arguments. In short, the book explains what it takes to build a successful oral argument. It is a very well researched book that addresses the usual mistakes that we make as a practitioner of the law.
- If you practice law, then this book can help you make fewer mistakes as a lawyer and think about your behavior on the bench as a judge.
- It is a well-written, useful, and detailed guide on how to speak and write for presenting a legal argument appropriately.
#14 – The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
by Michelle Alexander
About the book
The book highlights the intrinsic injustice in the American legal system stating it is little more than a system of racial oppression. It is a critical review of the criminal justice system that encourages racial discrimination.
Jim Crow laws refer to the state and local laws that were in practice until 1965. Under these laws, racial segregation was imposed in the Southern US states. However, the author defiantly argues that despite repealing the law the idea of racial discrimination against African-Americans in the US has not ended, it has been simply redesigned. She provocatively states that a significant percentage of the people in the jail are from the urban black community. Also, she delves further into their predicament after they come out of the prison to end up in a state of hopelessness. Once identified as felons, these people are treated like outcasts in society who are barred from any social welfare, employment opportunities, public housing, etc.
- It is a crude and honest representation of the differential legal treatment meted out to the African-Americans in the US.
- It is a guide to the muddle of the racist policies, discrimination, and propaganda, cloaked under the guise of the American legal system.
#15 – Letters to a Law Student: A Guide to Studying Law at University
by Nicholas J. McBride
About the book
The book focuses on everything that future law students should know before embarking on their legal journey. It is in an epistolary format comprising thirty letters written to a law student at different stages during his journey.
This book consists of a series of letters written to an imaginary law student at five different stages – consider studying law, prepare to study law, how to study law, prepare for the exams, and think about the future. Each chapter included in the book is very relevant to students who are considering studying law or those who are already doing a law degree. The author provides many practical examples of situations that a prospective law student might face and then suggests ways to deal with the same. The author uses a personal voice and epistolary format which makes the reading all the more interesting and engaging.
- It is a useful guide for students considering a law degree as it can help them prepare for the daunting first year of study.
- It is a very easy read given the use of simple language.
Other Recommended Books –
This has been a guide to Law Books. Here we discuss the list of top 15 law books you must read in 2021 that will fundamentally educate you about the legal structure of the country. You can also read the following books –
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